Trump Presses Case That 'Mexican' Judge Curiel Is Biased Against Him
Nina Totenberg -
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June 5, 2016

In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of Hillary Clinton and the judge presiding over the Trump University case. (CNN/Zamri KPI)

Update: Trump's Lawyers Seem to Be Ignoring His Complaints About the 'Biased' Hispanic Judge (VICE News)

Donald Trump is intensifying his attacks on the federal judge presiding over fraud lawsuits against Trump University. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, dismissing criticism from legal experts on the right and left, pressed his case against U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, saying the Indiana-born judge is biased against him because "he's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico."

Trump made the remarks, and others like it, repeatedly, in interviews with CNN and The Wall Street Journal, referring to Judge Curiel variously as "of Mexican heritage" or just "Mexican." But the message was always the same, that the judge had what Trump called "a conflict" because of his ethnicity.

At a rally in San Diego last week, Trump characterized the judge as "a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He's a hater." And "they ought to look into Judge Curiel."

In public, Trump has called repeatedly for the judge to recuse himself, but his lawyers in fact have not made any such request.

Speaking at a rally in Redding, Calif., Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pointed out a man at the rally and said, "look at my African American." Trump then mentioned an African American supporter who punched a Trump protester dressed like a Ku Klux Klan member at an Arizona rally in March. (The Washington Post)

That is undoubtedly because court precedents are unanimous in holding that race, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation are not themselves grounds for disqualifying a judge. If they were, legal ethicists observe, the legal system would fall into chaos because no judge would be free from taint. The five Supreme Court justices who are Catholic could not rule on a case in which the Catholic church participated, but neither could the other justices who are not Catholic.

Moreover, while Trump is free to say anything he wants about the judge, the lawyers in the case are bound by the professional rules of conduct and could be sanctioned for making such charges about Curiel without actual evidence of bias.

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Related: Trump Calls American-Born Judge ‘a Mexican,’ Points Out ‘My African American’ at a Rally (The Washington Post)

Related: Donald Trump Suggests Muslim Judge Might Also Be Unfair (ABC News)

Related: Party Elders Knock Trump Over Criticism of Judge (

Related: Alberto Gonzales Offers the Worst Defense of Trump’s Racism (Think Progress)

Related: Donald Trump Indicates Willingness to Compromise on Key Policy Issues (Press Trust of India)

Related: Are Mexicans a “Race”? (And Is Mark Halperin a “Journalist”?) (The Reality-Based Community)

Related: Gingrich: Trump's Judge Attacks 'One of the Worst Mistakes' He's Made (The Hill)

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